Skeletons – Wednesday 13

Release Year: 2008

Rating: 6.5/10

Wednesday 13 has built his musical career on b-horror and things that go bump in the night. Though he started with b-horror roots, as he continued releasing albums he’s branched out into more traditional rock and even metal, which is the sound of 13’s third album Skeletons. Wednesday 13 turns to his usual themes of horror, the supernatural, and fiendish ghouls, but with less punk rock and more hard rock. But will the rocker’s reliance on the same ol’ same ol’ make for a tiring album?

Wednesday 13 is up to the same spooky tricks on this album. Plenty of the songs like “Gimme Gimme Bloodshed” and “All American Massacre” make the same references to horror movies and creatures that go bump in the night as his previous efforts. The latter track even seems to be inspired by Texas Chainsaw Massacre since the horror weapon pops up several times in the lyrics. The strong opening track “Scream Baby Scream” begins with weird spacey sound followed by heart pounding percussion as 13 sings about ghouls and creeps. After the first verse, the song gets more intense as the guitars amp up and 13 lets out a vicious howl. This track is definitely in line with his horrorpunk past and is something you would expect from the rocker.

Almost the entire album continues in this fashion though the music seems more rock and metal inspired than punk. “Not Another Teenage Anthem” finds 13 singing about teenage rebellion even though he pretends that’s not what it’s about, the gruesome “Put Your Deathmask On” steps inside the mind of a serial killer, and “With Friends like These” finds 13 at his snarkiest as he tears apart people he thought he could rely on, but turned out to be assholes. The music is pretty similar for all the songs: grinding guitars, heart racing pace, and aggressive delivery. Granted, these are all things that make a Wednesday 13 album, but everything about it is only okay here. Very few of the songs stand out. Most of them aren’t bad, just not very memorable. When the rocker does finally change pace the results aren’t so great.

Wednesday 13 slows things down with “Skeletons” and “My Demise.” Though he tries to open himself up with these personal tracks, they don’t sound very good. There’s nothing wrong with the somber, slow tone of the title track. He even shakes things up by adding a jangly piano before switching to gritty guitars. But it gets awkward when 13 starts actually singing. His voice was not made for sincere crooning. It sounds like he’s doing a bad impression of Peter Murphy. It all sounds like a half-hearted attempt at a ballad. It’s so cringe worthy. We run into the same problem on the latter track. This one seems more western inspired with the soft acoustic music and odd wailing sounds in the background. But again 13 tries singing and it doesn’t work. Plenty of artists get by without actually having a good voice, but singing in this style just doesn’t suit Wednesday 13. His regular vocal style is just fine; it’s unbearable to hear him try on these two songs.

There are a handful of pretty good songs on the album, but not enough to make it worth sitting through the whole thing. Aside from the opening track, “No Rabbit in the Hat” is a strong cut which kicks off with fast, hard hitting music that gets your blooding boiling. There are more references to supernatural creatures along with nods to a love of violence. Savvy listeners will pick up the “And I’ve got an addiction/To ammunition, yeah,yeah,” which sounds similar to another line from “Gimme Gimme Bloodshed: “Now I, have a confession/A love affair with smith and wesson.” Not only are the two lines identical, but the latter pops up again in the Murderdolls song “Bored ‘Til Death.” The recycled lyric doesn’t make the song any better or worse; he just likes to sing about guns.

Another memorable song is “From Here to the Hearse.” Just like his best stuff, this one is spooky, b-horror vibes all the way. The music even sounds like it comes from a cheesy horror movie. The tables are turned here as 13 is hunted down by a loved one who wants to murder him. It’s filled with plenty of violence, gruesome imagery, and corny lyrical wordplay we expect from the best Wednesday 13 songs. It may not stray far from his comfort zone, but at least he does it well here. Though the other songs are bearable, they don’t stay with you once the album is done like these tracks.

Skeletons isn’t terrible, but unlike his debut there’s nothing really memorable about it. There are a handful of tracks that really grab your attention; everything else is just okay. It could be because it’s similar to what he’s already done. Or that the more rock oriented music can be standard and generic at times. Usually his songs about the supernatural and all things creepy are really fun even when they’re cheesy. But here it gets tiring and dull by the fourth track. It’s the same thing we’ve heard before, which seems to be a bit of an issue with most of his albums. Maybe some people don’t mind that, but other listeners may want something fresh from the rocker. It’s not a bad record, just pretty damn forgettable.

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